I’m not going to dwell on how Spring 2020 has turned out, but just to say, I don’t think too many of us saw that coming!
Previously, we were enjoying a positive economic climate and the residential construction industry was kept busy as consumers planned for new homes and changes to their existing homes. Things changed, and we have been thrown into new territory.
I expect that Builders and Renovators have re-examined their business and adjusted their 2020/2021 plans and processes accordingly. Now, more than ever it is important that they also have a well thought out marketing plan and budget.
My advice is to reassess your marketing efforts. Have you been doing the same thing year in and year-out because it seemed easy and achievable? Is your marketing plan focused on responding to enquiries?
Many of my clients have long established business roots with a strong referral network. Some clients have a young business with a solid foundation and a desire to grow. In either case, I recommend that at a minimum, they take the time to do a SWOT analysis of the company. An acronym for ‘Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats’ – I guarantee that if you and your team engage in this process, you will discover new ideas, uncover problems/challenges and feel good about your company’s many strengths! I caution that you do this exercise with an honest look at your business. You can only improve if you’re willing to admit to the ‘failings’…benchmark them and make a plan on how to do better.
Another important subject that intrigues me is that some Builders don’t seem to know (or want to know) who their competitors are. I have known of consumers who interviewed as many as five different builders before deciding who would build or renovate their home. I think the average is likely three. So, you need to stand out from the other two – differentiate yourself! But how can you do that if you don’t who they are, and you don’t know what they’re saying/doing to win the contract?
In the world of ‘New Home Projects’, the sales and marketing team focuses on what they will offer that is different/better than their competitors. Perhaps that arena is easier in which to seek out what is being offered, but this concept applies to custom homes and renovations as well. You don’t want price to be the only deciding factor, so you need to demonstrate the ‘value-adds’ that you bring to the table. Also, by understanding your competitor’s offering will give you an opportunity to discuss/differentiate your company.
So, how do you go about that? The obvious start is to think about how a consumer finds those three companies that they are going to talk to. If they’re googling ‘builders, custom builders, renovators, etc.’ so should you. If they’re looking at photos of homes on social media and following favourite companies, so should you. If there are Builder Project signs in their neighbourhood, there is a good chance that they will also contact that builder. The Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) does an ongoing outreach to educate consumers on the benefits of using a professional builder. And, they have an online resource directory of those companies. Check it out!
Having been in this business for awhile, “Reinvention” has become my mantra! And it needs to be yours too. I know that builders look to the latest products and technologies to ‘build a better home’ so as a marketer, I’m suggesting that you need to consider that same attitude for the future of your business. If it isn’t your personal expertise, then hire an experienced marketer to help you.